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Diplomatic Frenzy in Absence of Stakeholders Participation

Since early 2018, the Horn of Africa region has been going through dramatic developments. The shaky security situation could get worse before it gets better if it does.

In Ethiopia, though popular uprising has forced changes, there is fear that some of the mobs could be thinking of running the country forever by sidelining the federal government. The risk is that such developments could push the government into becoming dictatorial. In Sudan, the confrontation between the people and the Al-Bashir government has deteriorated so much it seems the country is on a bumpy road for the umpteenth time. In Eritrea, nothing changes because the weakest link to change has proven to be the most difficult challenge. The police state that is insulated by fear and coercion has survived all the winds of change, how long the weakest link will survive before it snaps, is anybody’s guess.

The following is a news digest of the situation in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and other developments in the Red Sea Basin.

SOUTH SUDAN

On January 7, South Sudan’s government ordered Al-Watan Newspaper not to publish news about the anti-Al-Bashir protests in Sudan. Until then, the newspaper had published extensive news covering the protests. The government warned Al-Watan to stop writing anything related to the protests in Sudan, noting it is the internal affairs of a neighboring country. It further asked Al-Watan to apologize to the embassy of Sudan within 72 hours.

On December 31, 2018, South Sudan had announced the partial resumption of oil drilling from the damaged wells in its territories. Drilling is expected to resume on January 19, 2019, and is expected to partially cover the local fuel needs. Oil drilling was stopped five-years ago due to military conflicts and political squabbled between South Sudan and Sudan. The conflict led to South Sudan’s separation in 2011.

South Sudan claims the production stopped because of high acid content in the oil wells and technicians had to reduce the acid that caused corrosion of pipes and other installations. It’s expected to drill 20,000 barrels per day. Before the drilling stopped, South Sudan used to produce around 350,000 barrels per day

SUDAN

Meanwhile, Al-Bashir’s government accused the media, particularly Satellite television stations of fabricating news scenes and agitating the public. Tens of people have lost their lives during the protests as security forces used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protesters. Sudan harshly criticized the media and threatened to curb its activities in covering the protests that “jeopardize the security of the nation.” Though the main target is believed to be Al-Jazeera television station, a correspondent of the London based Al-Arabia television station has been expelled from the country. Sudan has also warned local television stations not to air reports from local reporters about the protests. On the other hand, Sudanese activists have demonstrated in front of the Aljazeera office in London for disregarding the Sudanese protests.

According to government sources, some robberies and looting had occurred during the protests. But some lawmakers have pointed to the excessive use of live ammunition by the security forces against the protesters.

Though the protests started in Khartoum and Atbara, the capital of the River Nile State region where the anti-government demonstration erupted on 19 December 2018, it has spread to Omdurman, Port Sudan. The protests have spread throughout of Sudan and lately is spread in Gedaref, an agricultural town close to the Ethiopian and Eritrean border where large numbers of protesters took to the streets.

On Sunday, Jan 6, demonstrators marching to the presidential palace to demand from President Omer al-Bashir to step down were stopped by security forces. Riot police arrested many protesters, including university teachers and journalists. The protests that were triggered by economic failures, mainly the increase of bread and fuel costs, has been escalated to a demand to remove Omar Al Bashir who has refused to abduct power.

Sudanese security forces on cars without plates roamed the populated areas of Khartoum to disperse crowds who were preparing to march to the presidential palace. However, large crowds managed to break the police cordon and marched to the palace where they chanted anti-government slogans until they were dispersed with tear gas and live ammunition.

While the Al-Bashir government has managed to organize its supporters, who rallied in support of Al-Bashir, major opposition parties have declared their determination not to stop protesting until Al-Bashir steps down. Several dialogues between political parties, a major one in 2013, has not produced a fruitful outcome as Sudan continues to suffer from worsening economic hardships. Al-Bashir came to power in 1989 backed by Islamist forces and toppled the democratically elected government of Saddiq Al-Mahdi.

The recent protests have attracted a huge number of women, mostly young students and professionals. An unprecedented number of professors also joined the protests. Many of them were arrested.

On Wednesday, Al Bashir along with his party apparatchiks and government officials joined a rally surrounded by heavily armed forces. It was the first pro-government rally since the recent protests started on Dec 19. The rally that was carried out at the Green Park was organized to counter the anti-Al-Bashir protests and it attracted about 800 people. Internet connections and Mobile phone networks were blocked around the park as soon as Al Bashir arrived.

In an impromptu speech, the embattled Al-Bashir singled out China, Russia, Kuwait UAE, and Qatar, for standing behind him. However, he still vows to stay in power regardless of the popular protests demanding his removal.

However, in a statement issued on January 9, Western Troika–the United Kingdom, Norway, the United States–and Canada, have called for the respect of human rights without declaring their position on the demand of the protesters. Yet, they cautioned the government could be sanctioned if it didn’t stop arbitrary arrests and the use of force to disperse the protesters. They also warned Sudan’s actions will impact the relationship with other countries in the future.

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA

The Humera-Omhager border crossing which was informally opened last summer was closed on August 4 without announcement after it remained open for a few weeks. The Eritrean-Ethiopian border has been closed since the 1998-2000 war.

The major Zalambessa-Serha crossing in the central region was also opened in September but it was suddenly closed two weeks ago without explanation.

On Jan 6 the border crossing at Omhajer-Humera was opened again with fanfare in the presence of Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki. The opening is supposedly based on “article 3 of the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship” which a government official mentioned, though no Eritrean or Ethiopian knows the details of the agreement signed on July 9 between Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki.

PM Abiy Ahmed had landed in Tesseney where he arrived with a delegation to attend the OmHajer-Humera border crossing ceremony. The PM’s delegation included Dr. Debretsion Ghebremicheal, the president of the Tigray state and Mr. Gedu Andargachew

Meanwhile, residents around the town of Shire in the North of the country blocked, for the second time in a week, an armed force contingent from leaving the border region over security concerns. They wanted the forces to stay put expressing border security concerns with Eritrea. The forces are now stranded in the stadium of the town. The forces were moving heavy equipment from the border town of Zalambessa, a crossing point between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The border town was recently closed without announcement.

PM Abiy said he recognized the right of citizens to ask the reason for the deployments assuring the people the government will defend the region if it was attacked. However, he stressed only the government has the absolute right to move the national forces based on security and defense needs.

The blocking of the army has stirred controversy among partisan Ethiopians who accuse the Tigray region’s ruling party, the TPLF, of orchestrating the move. A parliamentarian referred to the action as a ‘detention’ of the army, which again stirred more controversy. According to reports, the use of the word ‘detention’ incensed the Deputy Chief of Staff who said, “no one can detain the defense forces.” At the same time, he acknowledged the government of Tigray has no hand in the move by the people who blocked the forces.

PM Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki have signed a number of trade and economic agreements including the use of the Eritrean port of Assab. In August 2018, Ethiopian media reported about the UAE plan to build an oil pipeline that runs from Assab to Addis Ababa. The UAE maintains a military presence in Assab from where its fighter planes fly bombing sorties against the Houthi Forces in Yemen. The plan to construct the pipeline was announced in Addis Ababa soon after the Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met Ms. Reem Al Hashimy, the state minister for the UAE’s international cooperation.

RED SEA BASIN,

On December 12, 2018, Saudi Arabia invited five Red Sea basin and Gulf of Aden countries to discuss the formation of an alliance. Representatives of Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen, and Jordan met with the Saudi hosts.

The shipping lanes in the red Sea are of vital strategic importance to the Gulf States and the industrial world. It is not known why Eritrea which controls over six hundred miles of the Red Sea coast and about 200 islands, was not invited.

On November 2014, Isaias Afwerki had floated an initiative to discuss the security of the Red Sea with the countries of the region. However, the Arab countries gave Isaias’ initiative a cold shoulder and politely hushed it. Fasil Gebreselasse, the Eritrean ambassador to Cairo explained that the failure of the initiative was due to the Arab concern about involving Israel in the security of the Red Sea. Though Isaias has primarily invited Egypt and Saudi Arabia and he also sent feelers to several other countries along the Red Sea–none of them was interested at the time.

RELATED READING

Isaias Wants A Bigger Role In The Yemeni Crisis (March 28, 2015)
Eritrean-Ethiopian Border Crossing at Um-Hajar Closed (August 5, 2018)
Ethiopian-Eritrean Border: Haphazardly Opened Erratically Closed (December 2018)

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  • Amanuel

    Hi Hope
    You are lucky you can afford to sleep 12 hours.
    My mother language is Tigrinya and spoke it before joining EPLF. In fact EPLF messed up with my Tigrinya (according my dad). In EPLF there was a tendency to mix Arabic words, specially to stay away from words sound Amharic. Do you think Bilen spoke better Tigrinya or is that a random question? You know I am not Bilenay. Sometime a go you wrote a proverb in Bilen and asked you twice for translation.

    • Hope

      Selam Aman:
      My bad.
      I had an impression that u have some Blin origin when you partially understood my Blin .
      No,it was the way round that Deki Blin do not speak a better Tigrniya but I was complimenting U for speaking a better Tigrniya when u r Blenay based on my initial impression but turned out to a wrong one now.

      Not that I am a Regionalist but for the sake of argument!

  • Amanuel

    Hi Hope
    Are you ok? What have you been smoking? You are all over the place jumping from one topic to another with in few hours or is “Hope” a nickname for shared account?
    Coming back to the issue at hand. Considering what happened during last summer Eritrea should have been invited but lt appears it has been sidelined. Why? Djibouti could be the reason. KSA might has learned that IA needs to see a stick occasionally to keep him in line. ንብዕራይ ኣብ መልሲ፡ ንኢሰያስ ኣብ ሳልስቲ።

  • Lamek

    Hi Hope, the issue is that when the peace process is conducted in a way by excluding important stakeholders or undermining differences of opinion. On the side of Eritrea, it’s one human being negotiating (or selling) on behalf of the whole country.

    On the Ethiopian side, you have ethnonationalists and unitatirans clashing. I mean people are asking for statehood but Abiy is trying to crash that feeling. The ethnicity in Ethiopia cannot be undone. It needs to be recognized and managed. It’s never been done, EPRDF is and has always been a unitary centralized govt.

    Nobody is sabotaging the so called peace process. The fault lines in Ethiopia have always been there but EPRDF provided the means for any group to express it’s grievances and emboldened groups are arising to never be marginalized again.

  • Brhan

    Hello Awate,
    Even though this article is more about Eritrea and less about Ethiopia the comment section is flooded with Ethiopian news
    Is the news of south of the border is more attracting than Eritrean?. Is Eritrean news boring?

    • Blink

      Dear Brhan
      You are right, the article is about Eritrea and also the region, it like what SG said in the previous article, we are forced to be obsessed by Ethiopia news , I also thing you are right Eritrean news is all boring. The boring section of Eritrea is made up of two sides the PFDJ news cycle is extremely boring and I personally do not read what ever they say because I feel PFDJ news media is all in the Sahl mind ( imagine if we have all the facts about General Sibhat Efrem and the news that can be generated , I think it will not be boring at all but thanks to PFDJ it is ) , the another side is also the opposition news media cycle has a viruses that needs to be fixed by us . Remember over 2000 Eritreans waste their time daily in the internet vast media madness talking about again madness in Facebook live , YouTube videos . Remember an Eritrean Arabic news brought a guy called Ykealo who claim to be ex PFDJ crazy man who wanted to be Jeberti and on the other many things , how can a person bring this guy to the news unless they wanted to benefit from his lousy head ? I blamed many but these guys well you know , they can also invite the horrible Tesfatsion agazian guy in order to pump up their consituents . Second you have people like the agazians and also the Turkey based political Islam dreamers, an office in Turkey to get access to a political system of Erdogan an Islamist conservative lunatic guy , you see where I am going ? Yes you know . What I am telling is my scanner .

  • Amanuel

    Hi George
    He is not only untrustworthy but also miscalculates as well. For example about the American military base in Dijibouti. It was a done deal to be in Eritrea. The air port in Assab was repaired for that purpose, but he miscalculated that the State Department won’t care about the imprisonment of its staff with out due process as he is providing a great opportunity to the Pentagon. As we know the deal fell through, and the beneficiary was little Dijibouti.

  • Paulos

    Selam My Good People,

    For the first time, after the fall of the Dergue, the Ethiopian defence forces conducted air strike inside the country. According to Addis-Standard, the air strike was aimed to destroy OLF training centers in Western Wellega where the need to undertake was exacerbated when OLF or group of men who claimed to be members of OLF robbed banks which are owned by the government with in the last couple of days. They have also taken men and women hostages who are employed by the bank.

    Machiavelli, once said, a leader is preferred to be feared than loved when Abiy opted for the latter and the Weyanes for the former and that was precisely the reason that Realpolitik worked for them when they had kept the nation at peace with itself.

    • Lamek

      Hi Paulos, so what do you make of the air strikes against OLF in light of the fact that the OLF was invited back to mainland by none other than Abiy and specially as it pertains to Eritrea? Does it matter to us (Eritreans) if OLF is made defunct, and also TPLF for that matter? Since you command an unwavering high regard in this forum, I urge you to write an article analyzing the situations involving the infatuation between IA and Abiy, the resurgence of Amhara and their claims to Wolquait and Raya and the significance of that, and the relentless campaign by the Amhara elite media against the entities which support the current Ethiopian constitution specifically multinational federalism (I don’t call it ethnic federalism), mainly TPLF and OLF and to some extent the Somalis and yedebub hizboch.

      • Selam Lamek,

        I hope you will excuse me. I thought i found the chance to say few words. Just one point.

        “Ethnic federalism is a federal system of national government in which the federated units are defined according to ethnicity. Related terms are multi-ethnic federalism and ethnofederalism. This type of federation is identified above all with the regime of Meles Zenawi from the 1990s in Ethiopia, where it has sometimes been known as Zenawism.” (Wikipedia).

        The characteristic criterias are region, language, ancestry, culture, nativism, etc, and whichever way we try to interpret ethiopian federalism, it points to the same thing, ethiopians are divided and made enemies against each other by referring to their secondary and minor differences, as opposed to their common characteristic that binds them together, i.e., their humanity, that joined them together up to now during moments of national perils, and will join them forever.

        Ethnically and nationally oriented regimes have always been a catastrophe for their people: nazis, fascists, japan, rwanda, our own case, etc. If we call the poison [ethnic (multi-national) federalism], whatever, with one name or other, there is no difference in its final effect; it is lethal. We should see it as such to the end, unless a miracle happens that would give a humane face to narrow ethnicism and nationalism. I doubt it in an ethiopian context. What then is the alternative choice we have?

        Regional federalism is a good prescription, it has been implemented in many countries, but in my opinion, in our case unfortunately, it is easily said than done. Ethiopians have been made addicts to narrow tribalism/ethnicism. It will take generations to wean them of their addiction. But, the problem is looking us directly in the eye today and it is not about tomorrow. Unless ethiopians realize the danger, they may pay their foolishness with a big disaster for which history will condemn harshly the present generation of ethiopians.

        Ethiopians are again between a rock and a hard place, and it is up to them to reach a consensus, that will take the country out of this quagmire of ethnic strife. It is possible, provided that there is goodwill on the side of the majority of ethiopians, and the spoilers are quickly put under control with the combined actions of the gov. and pro-democracy citizens.

        Some people are never cured from their disease of narrow ethnicism and nationalism, like dawud ibsa, who was called back with fanfare, only to resort to what he knows best; i.e. act like a bandit; may be as “an ethiopian boko haram” in the future, without its religious extension.

        I think that the thing the ethiopian government did up to now was to give a chance to olf and others to clean their acts, bring the oromo people on the side of the gov. by showing what DI and his OLF are worth, for as an oromo-centered gov. taking punitive measures against other oromos was not an easy job to do, which could undermine its legitimacy in the eyes of other oromos, without saying that there is legitimacy if it were against other ethnic groups.

        It seems that the ethiopian gov. has moved beyond the crossroad, towards taking things under its control, implementing punitive measures, with the knowledge that the majority of the ethiopoian people are supporting its moves.

        Finally, I would like to add that the support base of the ethiopian gov. goes beyond the borders, if we take into consideration the different leaders who are paying visit to ethiopia since pm Abiy came to power: germany, austria, ireland, italy, soon the president of germany, and others.

        • Hayat Adem

          Hi Horizon,
          The production of too many useful words sometimes results in too many useless points. The visits were there. In fact Zenawi and HD were not getting less attention either. Ethiopia used to be part of the G7 and G20 meetings. Have you asked asked why Abiy is not being invited or why is not attending? Have you asked why this leader never faced a foreign journalist for an interview one to one? Ethiopia used to play a leading role in global agenda? Why is it not the case anymore? Soon, it will pull its forces in peacekeeping missions. Ethiopia is diminishing both in the grace of its internal and external setting. Oh.. boy!

          • Hi Hayat Adem,

            You have a dead horse in your hand, tplf, and you do not seem to be aware of this fact, and you continue to write its eulogy. You are nursing and resuscitating it day and night, because you do not want to accept that it is finished. Your devotion to tplf is exemplary, but you are fighting an already lost war, because tplf is as good as dead.
            The only things diminishing in ethiopia will be the haters, robbers, exploiters and the con-men and women, and not her grace. Peace and prosperity is ahead, and as ethiopia grows, her enemies will diminish by the day.

          • Nitricc

            Hi Horizon: have you ever thought an Eritrean will fight to death defending TPLF? lol Remember Hayat claims she is Eritrean but her she is fighting with everything she got in defense of the indefensible TPLF thugs. can shade a light for me, please? The sad part is there are some people who believe that she is Eritrean. how stupid can they be?

          • Hayat Adem

            Ato Horizon,
            While you are writing now and then about Tplf, I only come to their mention only in response to your lies. I can afford to drop that as well. But you, you can’t spend an hour without thinking about them, a day without writing about them. If Tplf was dead, you wpuldn’t have been so much engaged about them. In the above note of yours that prompt me to comment, you have mentioned Zenawi repeatedly and came up with Zenawism. NOT ME, ONLY YOU. I said nothing about them. So, who is dealing with a dead horse? Probably, they are all dead beyond repair. But in your mind, they are the ones you fear most. That is obvious and it is showing. Well, on that, you may have a reason,:You are justified to shiver whenever they are mentioned. Fix your fear and then you can think clearly.

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Hi Horizon,

          I understood from your comment, your choice is Regional Federalism. If I am mistaken please correct me. Now, let me question your logic and your choice: What will you say if all regional rulers become Amaras? Is this good with you? You might answer me, it is impossible to be from Amaras, every region ruler will be different from the Amara according to the majority in the region. The ruler will be elected in accordance with majority, then it means we came back to rulers represented ethnically. I think, you are propagating to make Ethiopia revolve in the same vicious circle.

          Isaias plan to annihilate Oromos has begun by attacking the first group and the second group (Dr. Meddamar) will follow later. The process of disintegrating Ethiopia has begun.

          Al-Arabi

    • Hayat Adem

      Hi Paulos,
      The more certain things change, the more the stay the same.: De Javu! People like Horizon, will see this as an imporovement on responding. Well, it is a security relapse and it is a desperate situation.
      Well, the old Weyanes [Abiy too claims to represent Weyane], were not just exercising the fear factor. Look how they did it in Somali Kilil when they neutralized the insurgency there and contained the threat from al-Shabab. The constructed a working formula of breaking insurgency from within and blocking fundamentalism of cross border using securitization, development, and negotiation.

    • Kaddis

      Selam Gash Paulos –

      Its depressingly sad. The vocal Amharic media is shouting belew; while claiming they are ethnic neutral. Lets see when the war reaches Ambo. I used to have breakfast in Ambo and lunch in Bako or Neqement travelling to the West of Oromia. People here do not visualise how close the war is.
      And all this violence to justify no election as planned. Good Abiy’s smokescreen is gone sooner.

    • Abraham H.

      Selam Paulos, I’m not sure, but are you sure this the first time the eprdf gov conducting air raids inside Ethiopia, how about in the Ogaden region against the ONLF? Just wondering.

      • Paulos

        Selam Abraham,

        I think, this is the first air strike inside the country since the fall of the Dergue. It was ground battle if you can call it conventional against ONLF for it was search and destroy.

        What is even more interesting is that, Isaias may have played a sort of guarantor for the safety of OLF once they decided to return back to Ethiopia but as it happened either they are flexing muscles to have a role with in the power play or they are still reined in by Isaias so that Isaias can play the peacemaker or trouble maker he has so coveted for over two decades.

        OLF are not going to go away, even worse they are split into different factions not only to make them weak but to have them fight against each other from the same play book that had weakened the Eritrean revolution when we had ELF and EPLF.

        • Nitricc

          Hey P: it is too little too late. one of major definition of government is violence. Love, forgiveness and inclusiveness might work in church but in governing; you better bring the stick. if PMAA to safe Ethiopia and carry on with new change, then, he needs to kill a few. if not, what is trying to do is can’t be done by Medemer.

          • Paulos

            Nitrikay,

            The solution is not that complicated. He needs to step aside and give it to those who have seen it before and handled it with a productive solution that had rendered the nation at peace with itself. He can take a long vacation to write a book titled, “How Not To Mess With Something That You Have No Clue About.”

          • Haile S.

            Selam Paul,

            I think these days you are staying idle to have ample time to plan online -coup-d’État- in neighbouring country. Please get occupied by this interesting article below. You can get the full article at PMC. Some of us were running after Zegenfo during our childhood, you and Berhe likely were spending the time with Wedi-Gebeya. I wonder what our answers could have been to similar questionnaires at that time.

            Attitude towards Mental Illness among Secondary School Students in Asmara, Eritrea: A Cross-Sectional Study.

            Tesfamariam EH, et al. Psychiatry J. 2018.

            Abstract

            Secondary School students (SSs) are important members of the community; hence their attitude towards mental illness can be highly influential. Mentally ill individuals are not only suffering from the illness but also suffering from the stigmatizing attitude generated by the community. The objectives of this study were to determine attitude of SSs towards mental illness and its associated factors. A cross-sectional study design employing stratified random sampling was applied to select a sample of 402 students. Data was obtained using a self-administered Belief towards Mental Illness (BMI) questionnaire. Independent sample t-tests and one-way ANOVA were used to determine possible differences in scores of attitude. From a total of 21 BMI scale items, positive attitudes were found in eight items and negative attitudes were found in the remaining thirteen. The mean score of the full BMI scale was 2.47 (95% CI: 2.41, 2.54). The mean (95% CI) scores of dangerousness, poor social relations and incurability, and shame subscales were 2.68 (2.60, 2.76), 2.55 (2.48, 2.62), and 1.22 (1.09, 1.34), respectively. A significant negative correlation was found between attitude scores and the average mark of students (r = -0.257, p<0.0001). Moreover, significant differences in attitude scores were observed between students with a relative of mental illness and those without such a relative (p=0.004). There was an increasing trend of positive attitudes with increased educational level among 9th, 10th, and 11th graders (p-trend<0.0001) and with an increase in the educational level of the students father (p-trend=0.028). However, no significant difference in attitude score was found across categories of sex, religion, living condition of father, presence of a mentally ill neighbor, educational level of mother, or ethnicity. In conclusion, considerable numbers of SSs have negative attitudes towards mental illness. Implementation of programs that enhance positive attitudes towards mentally ill individuals is recommended.

          • Paulos

            Selam Hailat,

            Many thanks for sharing the interesting article. On a side note though, my job allows me to have ample time here and there and to scribble one or two on areas that interest me the most where the ideas that are entertained in this Forum are one among others.

            Mental illness and the stigma that comes with it is a serious social issue that policy makers and others should focus on, simply because it tends to exacerbate the illness when the patients get extra self conscious and get discouraged from seeking help as well. And I command the author who have brought the stigma to the fore where it’s dark reality is even more pronounced in the beautiful city we all grew up in.

            As much as you are well versed in French literature and other areas of France’s contribution to the sciences and alike, I trust you are familiar with Michel Foucault’s work where particularly his book, “The Birth Of The Clinic” where he argues that, the people who suffered with mental illness were more respected and found more sympathy with in the larger population during the medivial times as they were allowed to live and mingle with the society in comparison with present day mentally ill people who are confined to mental institutions isolated from the external world. He went on to argue that, that kind of isolation created a stigma with in the society and to view them as different which again, exacerbated the magnitude of the illness.

            As you have alluded in your comment, we grew up totally ignorant of the illness to the extent of taking the place where the patients confined in as in ጸጸራት as a recreation center and it pains me when I think about it to this day.

            Certainly, the findings of the author is not surprising for Asmara residents have a long way to go in understanding the seriousness of mental illness and the stigma that comes with it. I hope the authorities in Asmara pay attention to the findings and address the issue accordingly by providing awareness with in the public particularly with in the young people. Again, thank you for sharing.

          • Haile S.

            Selam Paul,

            That is the advantage of provoking you. You just come up quoting works even not known to those who consider themselves well versed with such great philosophers like M-Foucault (I don’t pretend to be one). His observation is absolutely true. Take the example of our life in our villages. Someone who would be automatically placed in mental institution in urban centers elsewhere lives quasi normally, bear children and live from his farms. For the villagers he/she is እዋይ ንሱ ድ’ኣ ዘይምስኪናይ ሕዋይ እዩ፡ ግና ኣብ ማሕረስ ክነፍዕ እንተትርእይዎ። ከመይ ዝበሉ ቛልዑ እኳ ወሊዱ።

          • Lamek

            Haile S. and Paulos, thank you! On the flip side, our society tends to downplay the early onset of mental illness. I am not a psychiatrist but more often than not I have been able to predict that someone wasn’t doing too well and when I suggest it to close friends or relatives that so and so doesn’t appear his/her normal self, I am reprimanded as being too ominous or mean or what have you.

            When it is too late and someone starts knocking out windows in Asmara houses, we call that person ‘kalla’. But when someone shows tendencies and can get help right away, our society cannot differentiate between a perfectly normal human being and someone who is crying for help unless that person starts walking in the streets and hitting children or something way too far gone.

            So besides the stigma of individuals with full blown mental illness, we should have a great focus on people who are crying for help early on. I know of many heartbreaking stories. I am not blaming anyone but the ignorance part is on both extremes – when the situation is manageable and when it is completely out of control. When it is manageable, we completely fail to discern a very close friend or relative’s behavior patterns and when it is completely beyond control, we tend to hide those individuals at home or if they are out in the streets, they are like ziarege anbesas metsaweti hammema yikewn. This conversation made me teary eyed because I know very close friends that suffered dearly.

          • Haile S.

            Thank you Lamek for mentioning the other dimension of the problem. Between ‘normality’ and the full blow cases, there are layers and layers that if given sufficient attention could be returned to normality.

        • Abraham H.

          Dear Paulos, I have seen some claims on the internet by the ONLF accusing the eprdf gov of not only air raids, but actually ‘carpet bombing’ their villages in 2007, claims which the gov rejected. On the OLF, there was an agreement between it and the Abiy gov; Here is part of the news item from shabait regarding the agreemnt where the Eritrean dictator was present;
          “The Reconciliation Agreement includes termination of hostilities and the OLF to conduct its political activities in Ethiopia through peaceful means. The two sides also agreed to establish joint committee that will oversee the implement the agreement.” So it is surprising why the OLF chose to continue carrying their weapons after they entered Ethiopia. As you alluded to, this conflict between the Abiy gov and the OLF, could potentially hurt the relationship with DIA.

          • Paulos

            Selam Abraham,

            I didn’t know that. My apologies and thanks for the correction.

        • Teodros Alem

          Selam paulos
          1, determination, 3A said, in his conversation with teachers of the country last week ” we(the army) tried to lift out a wounded doctor(wounded by olf) in walega by helicopter, the people of the area prevent the helicopter from landing by lay down on the field of the landing”.
          2,ruthless, the deputy chief of staff of the aramy said to the parliament 5-6 days ago, “he haven’t seen this kind of cruelty in his entire soldier life”, he is referring to olf soldiers committed crimes.
          3, powerful, odp/eprdf affiliated newspaper(addis standard) said air force is used on the fight in walega.
          do u know how eprdf pr operates? than u know what r they trying to say and the message.
          by the way air force helicopters was used in n gonder 2 years ago.

  • Peace!

    Hi Kokeb Selam

    Where are you? We miss you!!

    ጥልመት ድዩ ቅልውላው መንነት
    መርገም ድዩ ወይስ ብላሽ ዑስብነት
    ጽልኢ ድዩ ወይስ ግዝያዊ ዕሽነት
    ድንቁርና ድዩ ወይስ ዘይወጽእ ድኽነት
    ወለዶታት ሓሊፉ ብዘይ ሰላም ቅሳነት
    ሽንኮለል በዚሑ ኣብ ውሽጢ ባርነት
    መዕለቢ ተሳኢንዎ ናይ ህዝብና ከርተት

    https://youtu.be/RhR4suE1rZU

    Peace!

    • Abraham H.

      Selam Peace, I also hope that our Kokhob is doing fine, we miss his contributions here. But if our neighbors to the south could do it why can’t we, i.e. a government by the people and for the people? I feel that there is a worrying lack of the sense of justice among us Eritreans, if I’m going to generalise. We are so mute and powerless to the level that we don’t know what our lifetime ruler is signing on our behalf, treating our nation as his own private backyard.

      • Peace!

        Hi Abraham,

        Agreed. Except, in fairness, we need to be honest and specific when identifying which group is on MUTE mode, Enda Felete Dekisu Zelo–Eritrean mother never stops from giving her kids for the country, brave fighters like Betwedid are fighting from prisons for decades, activists are sacrificing their life and families for exposing the injustice and giving guidance, heroes like wedi Ali martyred, Berhane Abrehe has chosen to die in prison…the list goes on.

        Peace!

        • Abraham H.

          Dear Peace, fair enough, I’, not denying that we have had a few brave souls who did what they could, but as long as እቶም እና ፈለጥና ዘጽቀጥና ኣዚና ዝበዛሕና, looking the other way, indifferece, helplessness, etc, there will no be change to the better. We will continue shedding our few heroes and heroines, while our country keeps marching towards its deathbed. The three decades ago defeated Dergists, and Ethiopian expansionists are on the march, well helped by the Eritrean dictator and his nsu-nhnas.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQyWeji_Ni0

          • Peace!

            Hi Abraham,

            The scary part is when it comes to ቀይ ባሕራችን those people are united and determined. And our dictator sees being ኣሳላጢ to such expansion as opportunity for his safe exit from heinous crimes he is committing.

            Peace!

          • Abraham H.

            Dear Peace, …and faced with kind of serious reversal of events that could undo the objective for which we Eritreans lost thousands of our best, today, we couldn’t even contemplate on the idea of uniting for a common purpose. I think those who’ve for years been claiming that Isayas was not necessarily for Eritrea’s independece, have been vindicated as we witness the unthinkable drama in front our own eyes.

          • Peace!

            Hi Abraham,

            Duped big time! Even Dr Bereket never entertained Isaayas being a CIA agent. He is doing every thing he can before he runs out of time. As for the people of Eritrea, it is, as Awate Team aptly put it, a “Diplomatic Frenzy in Absence of stakeholders participation.” SAD!

            Peace!

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Peace, የቕልሎ ኢዩ ዘብል, thanks for the exchange, have a nice weekend.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Peace and all,

      I am reading every single word in this site and yet I can’t reply as on my bed very sick, Amunie H, has wished me to come back the other day in Jebena page very soon I am coming back,,Now, I think I have dismissed all the doubts you a you all have..

      Thank you all for your kindness..and wish you the best and I want to promises to you all, soon I will start to contribute and I hope I will come with very fresh Idea and you all will love my participation.. I have formatted my brain to come with totally my old principle..(fresh and depending on those old stands of mine.). Be happy and optimistic and don’t worry..

      KS,,

      • Hayat Adem

        Hi KS,
        You are always in my thoughts. Your positivity will never be lost from me. Life is more beautiful, fulfilling and productive when you do not just what you can and enjoy but also what is good for the greater number to the very last. You are a rock of goodness and a high purpose human!
        Love, Hayat

        • Kokhob Selam

          Hi Queen Hayata Adem,

          Thank you dear..

          That is again mutual,,we both agree always,,when I say that I mean it,,,

          KS,,

      • Ismail AA

        Dear Kokhob Selam,
        We have you in our thoughts every minute. You have shown us how strong you are and I am certain you will keep up your power of moral high as you always did.

      • Haile S.

        Selamat KoKhob,

        ኮኸብን ሰላምን ተደማሚሮም
        የብርሁ ካብ ዘለኻዮ ተሓባቢሮም

        ኣጆኻ! ዋላኳ ንሕጂ በጻብዕ እንተዘይገጠምካ
        ነንብቦ ኣለና ጽቡቕ ንመጻኢ ዘሎ ኣብ ሓሳብካ

        ተስፋ ኮነ ናይ ሓንጎልን ኣተሓሳስባን ትሪ
        50% መድሃኒት’ዩ ዝፍውስ ጥዕና ዘፍሪ
        ቀጽል ንቕድሚት ርአ፡ ንብርሃን ንቐተሪ

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Kokhobay,

        It was my understanding that Kokhbay can not be missed this long, unless he is not sick. Brother, don’t be in harry to come back until you are completely recuperated from your illness. Take care yourself as it should be. Good to hear from you, and you will remain always in our thoughts. I will contact you through your private email. Feel better brother. 👋

      • sara

        kokob selam… dear..
        nice to hear from you….. keep up with your usual poetry… in jebena.

      • Paulos

        Selam Kokhobay,

        Get better my brother. You are in my prayers. God bless!

      • Abraham H.

        Dear Kokhobay, nice to see you back, wish you full recovery and strength.

      • Nitricc

        Hi KS; get speedy recovery my friend. You are the original toothless –:) so, we need you back.

      • Abrehet Yosief

        Selam KS

        ሰላም ሰላም ኮኾብና
        እንታይ ይዓብስ ጀሚዓ ጀበና
        እንታይ ይዓብስ ሕሩር ቡንና
        ኮኾብ ሰላም ዘይዓስሎ ገዛና
        በሉ ክሳብ ዝሕወስ እዚ ሓውና
        ሻሕ ሻሕ የለ ዲግ ዲግ ንበይንና
        ወላ መርዘን ይበትኖ ርእስና

      • Fanti Ghana

        Selamat Dr. Kokhob Selam,

        You are a rare treasure.I mean it with all my heart.

        I am not “officially back” yet myself, but I couldn’t miss this opportunity to say that although we will never have enough of you, we will pray and wait until you are fully recovered. Until then, we will treasure every wisdom and love you shared with us freely and gracefully. Do not stress about anything my friend. “There is nothing new under the sun.”

        • Haile S.

          Selam Saint Fanti,

          እዋይ ሓጥያት ናይ እዞም ኣመንቲ
          ሰሚዕኩም’ዶ ርኢኹም ዶ ቅዱስ ፋንቲ
          ትኹን መልሓሰይ ዋላ ሓሙኹሽቲ
          ርእየ ኣይርኣኹን ኣዒንተይ ይግበረን ሞኽባዕቲ
          ሰሚዔ ኣይስርማዕኩን ቃለይ ሓንቲ
          ኣብዚኣ ኣይተቐልቀሉን ቅዱስ ፋንቲ ብኡነቲ

  • Amanuel

    Hi George
    You missing the point. The problem is not on the substance but on the form, meaning “TRUST”. If some one is going back on his word he is not worth of any alliance.

  • Mez

    Dear all,

    Brits are back to Somaliland(?).

    If so, may be one pillar of PIA foreign policy is being bantered in a new way.

    A headache for PIA?

    Thanks

  • Amanuel

    Hi Awate Team
    Thanks for the analysis.
    I think you meant December 31 2018 on the second paragraph of the South Sudan section.

    About the 12 December 2018 KSA not inviting Eritrea. An informed Eritreas with deep knowledge of the region told me that KSA is not happy with IA that he is going back on a promise he gave them that he will account fully about the Djiboutian prisoners of war. In the end it is a matter of choice for the KSA and they chose Dijibouti.

  • Acria

    Selam Awate Team,

    One thing I can surmise from your news digest and from what I have observed over the years is that separation of a once-large-state into two independent states has been very futile in the Horn of Africa. In the case of Eritrea, we have “wasted” thirty years of fighting for independence only our freedom to be hijacked for another 27-years of unbelievable dictatorial regime the kind of which we haven’t tasted during the colonization eras.

    Although the struggle for Eritrea’s independence was legitimate, in hindsight, federation with Ethiopia, as is rumored now with the ‘Medemer’ mantra, would have been a better alternative. I didn’t come to this conclusion lightly: the many lives lost during the countless wars with Ethiopia, the many refugees languishing in Sudan and other parts of the world, and the absolute lack of democracy and economic growth are the motivations to my conclusion. I am not sure where Eritrea is heading now as we don’t have a reliable democratic force in the picture.

    On the other hand, the debacle the Sudanese people put on themselves by letting go off South Sudan which is full of fertile, green, and oil rich land is beyond recourse. I believe the two countries can benefit socially and economically by cooperating with each other. By making South Sudan more stable and bringing the oil production to its highest level, the pain of both peoples can be minimized to some extent. Nevertheless, true democracy and economic growth can only be achieved by both countries by working together and respecting each other. That may bring unity between the two countries which will fetch a lasting peace among the peoples of both countries.

    My hope is that not only to bring Eritrea and Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan, and Somaliland and the rest of Somalia together, but also to bring the whole Horn of Africa into a united block to create a strong economic and political union for the betterment of its inhabitants. We can always find strength in unity but weakness in disintegration. I invite everyone to work to that end. In order to achieve this, we really need to think out of our comfort zone.

    • Blink

      Dear Acria
      It seems you are following the Dergi defeated generals old dream , Dawit weldegergis request for the Ethiopian dead soldiers to have statues or cemetery in Eritrea seems to wait then . You people are simply horrible.

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Hi Acria,

      “One thing I can surmise from your news digest and from what I have observed over the years is that separation of a once-large-state into two independent states has been very futile in the Horn of Africa.”

      I have read the article, but I didn’t find “a one-large-state into two independent states has been very futile in the Horn of Africa”. Please, could you tell me where you have found it?

      In the history of man kind maps changed a lot of times. Empires rose and Empires fell. Old countries disappear and New countries emerged. Judging events with confined knowledge is not wise. Eritrea was never become part of Ethiopia, and Federation with Ethiopia was imposed by the USA. You should not forget Ethiopia entered Eritrea through a resolution of UN.

      Eritreans are not Ethiopians and if you are an Ethiopian you can join your MAMA without Eritrea, and give us peace. Please, Eritreans are bored by changing of skins day in and day out by some who suffer from identity-crisis. I hope you debate under any other name not Acria. Acria is not the home of submissive people, Acria is the den of heros.

      Al-Arabi

      • Lamek

        Al-Arabi, I hope you pardon me but you write very reasonable, accurate, and well thought out core Eritrean comments. You occur to me as a true Eritrean but your nickname is a poor choice unless you are of course an Arab super interested in Eritrean politics.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Lemak,

          Why don’t you recommend for him the reverse of your nick name, and that is “Kemal”?

          • Lamek

            Selam Amanu. He strikes me as a real concerned Eritrean but he wants to be known as an Arab or it appears that way. Kemal is a great name. Hameed Kemal, it rhymes nicely too.

          • Brhan

            Hi LAMEK
            ኣማረ ቢትወደድ ታደሰ በላይ ተድላ sounds Ethiopian to you then

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Lamek,

            Do you have that beautiful name in your nuclear family? I sensed it that way.

          • Lamek

            Selam Aman, believe it or not, yes I do. A very very close blood relation with the name Kemal. Just for your amusement, a little while ago, Mahmoud Saleh addressed me as Kemal, I was happy about that but he did that on purpose, not mistyped it because as you know he is a very deliberate and shrewd person.

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Lamek,
          I hope this will help. I know several people who are called Arabi. I also know three families who are known as Enda Arabi. Of course you know we have Ethiopia, showaa, Medina, Mecca, Yorusalem, Nazareth, and many more. A name is just a name.

          • Lamek

            Hi Saleh, point well taken. In fact, I know several Eritreans named Israel. The other thing is I am not sure if Hameed’s real last name is Arabi, in which case, I wouldn’t have written the comment. But I have to admit though it would be much better if he nicknamed himself as simply Hameed. The Al Arabi part makes him appear as if he is coming off trying to irritate sensitive people.

          • Hameed Al-Arabi

            Ahlan Lamek,

            Thank you for your concern about my name. Simply, it is a training in fundamentals of the Eritrean history. First it was only Hameed, then after hot debate in this forum I added Al-Arabi. If you go back in the archives of Awate.com, you will get full information. Eritrea is a composition of two cultures; those who don’t know this reality on the ground doesn’t know Eritrea. I hope, it is clear now.

            Al-Arabi

          • Teodros Alem

            Selam Saleh Johar
            I know 2 ethiopians by the name arabi and arabo(corrupted arabi), both of them Guraga.

        • Brhan

          Hi LAMEK
          What about if he were Amare…..were you going to say “an Ethiopian super interested in Eritrean politics….or Tadese or Belay or oh we have also Bitweded or Tedla….can some one help and add?
          Lamek you must be either not Eritrean or Eritrean from another planet!

      • Acria

        Selam Hameed,

        You know I don’t like to copy and paste other people’s work for the sake of an argument. The statement you are referring to is the result deductive reasoning. My friend, you need to look deeper. On another note, don’t get stressed if someone from Akhriya have a divergent point of view. Conformity is not always a good thing. By the way, the penname “Acria” is not for sale either.

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Hi Acria,

          First of all correct your deductive reasoning. Divergent point of view is not an open commodity, there are terms you have to follow. When you want to be submissive and for sale, do not use common names. You could grovel and expose yourself for sale under proper names only. Acria is a common name which is not for sale or prostration. Your divergent point of view should be experienced out side Acria.

          Al-Arabi

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Acria, obviously you have not digested the records of Awate Team enough. Try putting salt when you do that next time. If it is your view, express them as such but please do not try to present your views as that of the Awate Team. You are totally wrong.

      • Acria

        Selam SGJ,

        I believe that I am not trying to SUMMARIZE the article. I never intended to present my views at that of the Awate Team. I am not sure how you come to that conclusion. What I did was SURMISE my point of view. I think there is a big difference between SUMMARIZE and SURMISE.